What is doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic. It fights bacteria in the body.

Doxycycline is used to treat many different bacterial infections, such as acne, urinary tract infections, intestinal infections, eye infections, gonorrhea, chlamydia, periodontitis (gum disease), and others.

Doxycycline is also used to treat blemishes, bumps, and acne-like lesions caused by rosacea. It will not treat facial redness caused by rosacea.

Some forms of doxycycline are used to prevent malaria, to treat anthrax, or to treat infections caused by mites, ticks, or lice.

Important information

You should not take doxycycline if you are allergic to any tetracycline antibiotic.

Children should not use this medicine. Doxycycline can cause permanent yellowing or graying of the teeth in children younger than 8 years old.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to doxycycline or other tetracycline antibiotics such as demeclocycline, minocycline, tetracycline, or tigecycline.

To make sure doxycycline is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • asthma or sulfite allergy;
  • a history of increased pressure inside your skull;
  • if you also take isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret); or
  • if you take seizure medicine (carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin), or a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven).

If you are using doxycycline to treat gonorrhea, your doctor may test you to make sure you do not also have syphilis, another sexually transmitted disease.

Do not use doxycycline if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby or cause permanent tooth discoloration later in life. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment.

Doxycycline can make birth control pills less effective. Ask your doctor about using a non hormone method of birth control (such as a condom, diaphragm, spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while using doxycycline.

Doxycycline passes into breast milk and may affect bone and tooth development in a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking this medicine.

Children should not use this medicine. Doxycycline can cause permanent yellowing or graying of the teeth in children younger than 8 years old.

Children should use doxycycline only in cases of severe or life-threatening conditions such as anthrax or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The benefit of treating a serious condition may outweigh any risks to the child’s tooth development.

Malaria and doxycycline?

 

Additional information for protection against malaria

  • If you are taking doxycycline to protect against malaria, you must start taking it 1-2 days before you travel. This is to ensure there is sufficient medicine in your bloodstream to give you the required protection. You should continue to take it throughout your stay and for a further four weeks after you have left the area.
  • If you feel ill or develop a high temperature (fever) or flu-like symptoms while you are travelling or within one year (especially if it is within three months) of returning home, you should see your doctor straightaway. This is important, even if you have taken your antimalarial tablets correctly.
  • Doxycycline will help reduce the risk of you getting malaria, but it is also important that you take the following precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes:
    • Cover up bare areas of your arms and legs with long-sleeved, loose-fitting clothing, long trousers and socks. This is especially important if you are outside after sunset, as this is when mosquitoes feed.
    • Use an effective insect repellant spray on your clothing and any area of your skin which is bare. If you are also using a sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and the insect repellant afterwards.
    • Spray the room with an insecticide each evening a couple of hours before you go to bed. Check your sleeping areas for mosquitoes – pay particular attention to furniture and areas under your bed where insects can hide.
    • If you are sleeping in an unscreened room, use a mosquito net impregnated with an insecticide.

 

Doxycycline for Malaria Chemoprophylaxis and Treatment: Report from the CDC Expert Meeting on Malaria Chemoprophylaxis

What should I avoid while taking doxycycline?

Do not take iron supplements, multivitamins, calcium supplements, antacids, or laxatives within 2 hours before or after taking doxycycline.

Avoid taking any other antibiotics with doxycycline unless your doctor has told you to.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Doxycycline can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking this medicine and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Doxycycline side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction to doxycycline: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • changes in your vision;
  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • fever, swollen glands, body aches, flu symptoms, weakness;
  • skin rash, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
  • upper stomach pain (may spread to your back), loss of appetite, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • chest pain, irregular heart rhythm, feeling short of breath;
  • confusion, nausea and vomiting, swelling, rapid weight gain, little or no urinating;
  • new or worsening cough with fever, trouble breathing;
  • increased pressure inside the skull–severe headaches, ringing in your ears, dizziness, nausea, vision problems, pain behind your eyes; or
  • severe skin reaction–fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common doxycycline side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, upset stomach;
  • mild diarrhea;
  • skin rash or itching; or
  • vaginal itching or discharge.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.